Deadly European Storm Threatens Huge Tidal Surge: Page 2

Hamburg's historic fish auction hall Fischmarkt is flooded by the water of the Elbe river on December 06, 2013 after the storm Xaver reached the northern German city during the night.

Police and council officials said they were evacuating 9,000 homes in the county of Norfolk, eastern England, and 1,000 in Essex, southeastern England, before three high tides over the next 36 hours.

Floodwaters had already submerged parts of Newcastle and Hull in northern England, and the environment agency issuing more than 40 individual flood warnings.

London's Thames Barrier was closed, with Data issued Thursday suggesting it was holding the incoming tide at bay.

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In the Netherlands -- where 27 percent of the country lies below sea-level -- the landmark Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier has been closed for the first time in six years.

Dutch authorities said they had issued the highest possible flood warning for four areas in the north and northwest of the country.

Belgium is expected to experience a storm surge of up to 6.1 metres, "the highest for 30 years," said Carl Decaluwe, the governor of West Flanders province.

Germany reinforced emergency services in and around the northern port of Hamburg and cancelled lessons at many schools, while Swedish authorities also issued flood warnings.

There was travel chaos as the storm barrelled across the North Sea from Britain towards Germany and northwest Europe.

Many flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports in Scotland were cancelled because of the weather conditions.

An easyJet plane separately made failed attempts to land at both Glasgow and Edinburgh before heading to Manchester in northwest England.

"I'm feeling really lucky to be alive," said Hazel Bedford, a passenger on the easyJet plane.

"Everything started shaking and bumping, we were going up and down, up and down, like a rollercoaster. An awful lot of people were being sick."

Hamburg airport said 128 flights were cancelled because of high winds while Dutch airline KLM scrapped 84 continental flights from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Several internal flights were cancelled in Sweden.

Rail travel was badly hit, with all train services in Scotland cancelled at one point.

The Oeresund road and rail bridge between Sweden and Denmark closed, as did several Swedish rail lines.

Danish authorities said they were closing down rail services across the country and Germany said it might do the same.

Ferries to Germany from Sweden and Denmark were cancelled.

In Britain, the storm played havoc with powerlines. More than 20,000 homes were left without power in Scotland and 6,500 in Northern Ireland.

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